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Make every day Taco Tuesday

January 11, 2019

Growing up with Mexican grandparents meant eating some very good food. I still remember the sweet enchiladas my grandmother made for years, before her hands wore out and she retired from making them for the family.

As far as tacos go, I never liked corn tortillas as a kid, and only made and ate tacos you’d consider to be American. As some young people do, I had a bad palate. And as a college kid and then underpaid newspaper writer, I wasn’t exactly buying all sorts of vegetables to throw on a tortilla (even if I was stuffing them with fresh-caught Alaskan cod from a local cannery). Nor did I have time to cook while working at a newspaper as a reporter for 12 to 15 hours a day.

I rediscovered food when I came back to the Lower 48 – specifically the Twin Cities. Things like street tacos, ramen, and even chicken wings became the norm in a wide world of food I was now discovering, after only having glimpses when I went to Japan to study in college or had a fancy night out.

I’ve had quite a few tacos in Rochester since moving here from the Cities. We don’t have the vast selection or quality as the Twin Cities, but it’s exciting to see a place like Taco Jed open. The tacos are what you’d expect from a food truck in the Cities – filled with flavor and satisfaction.

I visited last Wednesday when Taco Jed had hit the three-month mark, and right after a grand opening of sorts. It was absolutely bustling, and the wait for tacos took a while.

But when I got my three tacos – a fish taco, pulled pork taco, and one mostly filled with black beans and avocado – I forgot all about the wait.

The walleye had a nice tang to it thanks to some lime and the sprinkles of feta. Pulled pork paired with melted mozzarella was always going to deliver a savory experience, and the slightly fried, slightly crisp tortilla was delicious and the right amount of chewy.

The Backfire Taco – the vegetable option – was good, but fell apart within two bites. Perhaps it was the mozzarella that soaked the corn tortilla, but really, corn tortillas never seem to want to stay together. No harm, though – I just used my fingers (don’t tell my wife) to scoop the beans, avocado, peppers, and onions into my mouth.

While the two other tacos I took home weren’t my favorites (one had too much onion for my liking, and I love onion), there seems to be just enough variety there for everyone to find something to enjoy. Plus, you can mix and match tacos instead of having to order three of the same thing like at some eateries.

But what really stuck out was how owner Steve Dunn was happily helping around his joint. Need a margarita? He was on it. He was the one who poured me my beer in the Taco Shed area of the restaurant. Selections included LTS and Little Thistle; it’s always great to see local beer on tap.

Taco Jed has been well-received, and with an owner who enjoys tacos so much (he ran a taco place in Dallas before Jed), I would imagine they’d only get better from here.

I’ll be back for more walleye tacos and to shovel more black beans and avocados into my face.

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